Unpaid tax dues top record 60 billion

Businesses’ and households’ outstanding tax dues climbed to a record of more than 60 billion euros at the end of July, adding to ministers’ worries about how Greeks will handle a flurry of new tax demands in the final stretch of the year.

According to the latest Finance Ministry data, only one in 10 district tax offices has managed to meet the revenue targets in the January-July period, resulting in an overall 4 percent shortfall.

New outstanding tax liabilities that arose during this period totaled 4.79 billion euros, with July accounting for 407 million. These sums represent increases of 7.3 and 0.7 percent respectively. The number of individuals with tax debts now stands at more than 2 million and the number of businesses in a similar position at around 170,000.

The Finance Ministry is already studying a number of possible changes to favorable payment terms introduced for outstanding taxes this summer. The aim is not to change the main body of the provisions, such as more installments, but to bring more debtors into the system so as to increase revenues. Possible changes will be discussed with the troika next month.

Up to the end of last month, new outstanding revenues collected came to 679 million euros, meeting the set target. On the other hand, only 959 million euros of old dues had been collected, against an annual target of 1.9 billion.

Total revenues in the seven months came to 14.8 billion euros, or 4 percent short of the 15.4 billion target. But July alone was a good month, with revenue collected totaling 2.94 billion, or 1.1 percent above target. Property tax dues for the last three years are due for payment this autumn.

According to the latest data, only 15 of the country’s 140 district tax offices managed to achieve their revenue targets. The resulting shortfall was 2.19 billion euros. On the other hand, the “achievers” produced a surplus of 1.57 billion, of which 1.15 billion euros was accounted for by the Athens district office alone.

The figures also show that one in five self-employed and businesspeople do not submit their periodic VAT tax statements in time.